Ghost Bottle, Cyanotype, 2012.
Cohen Gallery is proud to announce Seventy Year Old Shadows of Hiroshima,
an exhibition featuring photographic works by elin o’Hara slavick. The
exhibition will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb.
The exhibited works are from the artist’s recent series, After Hiroshima, a
visual essay on the incalculable loss from the dropping of Little Boy on
Hiroshima. In this series, slavick presents cyanotypes and pigment prints of
ordinary objects that were transformed during – and that survived – the atomic
explosion. The artist was allowed special permission inside the Hiroshima
Peace Memorial Museum Archive to photograph these artifacts.
The photographic works in this exhibition are an attempt to address –
historically, poetically, and visually – all that is still gone since the beginning of
the post-nuclear age, 70 years ago. After Hiroshima is a soliloquy to the
potential that a nonviolent image has to speak for something so violent as
nuclear warfare; to the limitations of visual representation itself.
As James Elkins wrote in his essay on this series, “making images of ladders,
bottles, combs, and leaves is a way of saying: I cannot represent what
happened to people in Hiroshima, because I cannot re-present it as art. It’s not
that the people who suffered could not, cannot, or should not, be represented:
it is that they cannot be re-presented in a fine art context. All that is left for art
is to look aside, at other things, at surrogates, at things so ordinary and empty
that they evoke, unexpectedly but intensely, the world of pain. I am not sure if
this is ethically sufficient, but I think in this case it feels ethically necessary."
elin o’Hara slavick has exhibited her work throughout Asia, Europe, and North
America. She is the author of Bomb After Bomb: A Violent Cartography (Charta, 2007), with a forward by Howard Zinn, and After Hiroshima (Daylight
Books, 2013), with an essay by James Elkins. elin o’Hara slavick was
nominated for the 2015 Prix de Pictet. Slavick is currently the Director of Graduate Studies and a Professor of Visual Art, Theory, and Practice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.